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Is Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere getting enough referee protection?

Jan 13, 2013, 3:15 PM EDT

Britain Soccer Premier League

Talkers of today’s Arsenal-Manchester City contest (2-0 for City) included DOGSO, two-footed lunges and what we’ll call “protection.”

We addressed DOGSO already – in the wonkish parlance of the refereeing world, that’s “Denial of Goal Scoring Opportunity.”

On Vincent Kompany’s two-footed lunge, I generally say the same thing in these circumstances: we can have a legitimate debate about true red card-worthiness here, because the City center back did get the ball, and did not get much of Jack Wilshere’s shin. (In fact, Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has already said he plans to appeal Kompany’s ejection.)

But the bottom line for me is that Kompany simply must be smarter there. Defenders who go in with both feet, cleats up, get little sympathy from me. Even the savviest, smoothest tackler cannot know how this is going to look to the man in the middle. We see this time and again, where a clean tackle really does look vicious, and all it takes to elicit ejection is an imperfect angle from the only set of eyes that matter.

In this case, referee Mike Dean was certainly going to level matters and 10 on 10 if there was any cause to do so. City was never going to get the benefit of the doubt, and Kompany should have known so.

It looked heavy and dangerous, so it just was not the smartest of actions.

Now … onto “protection.”

Gunners fans are wondering if Wilshere is getting enough of it? And they are right to do so. Consider:

source:

The man was kicked and hacked mercilessly. Arsenal players, clearly frustrated, let Dean know how they felt, admonishing the veteran referee with a couple of serious hissy-fit temper tantrums (pictured, as Wilshere lays on the ground).

Meanwhile, Wilshere played it cool, proving something today, taking the punishment in midfield and returning for more. No that it surprises anyone.

Gunners teammates are surely a little more sensitive here, seeing as Wilshere only recently got back on the field after about 14 months away from the game. He’s a real talent, this 21-year-old England international – but he cannot take too many matches like Sunday’s.

  1. oasiserfede - Jan 13, 2013 at 7:49 PM

    To hear fans complain that the game has gone soft is mindboggling to me after seeing a “tackle” like that. Even if you gain “clean” possession of the ball, a tackle can still be reckless. Most seem to forget that. Kompany’s red card was totally appropriate and I hope the appaeal lands him an extra day of suspension

  2. travishenryskid - Jan 13, 2013 at 8:14 PM

    Kompany’s red card was a joke as he went in with one foot and he cleanly got the ball. Wilshire plays a reckless game, maybe he should protect himself rather than asking for refs to give him extra protection. If he doesn’t figure this out, his career is going to be very short.

  3. travishenryskid - Jan 13, 2013 at 8:22 PM

    And to be clear, the description of the tackle as “both feet, cleats up” is absurd and makes me question if you watched the game or just read a description of the play on a gunners message board.

    • Steve Davis - Jan 14, 2013 at 11:11 AM

      Watched the game. Watched the tackle live. Saw the replays. So, we just disagree …

  4. bryaneverson - Jan 13, 2013 at 9:07 PM

    Worth brandishing that I’m an admirer of Arsenal, but I believe that this contest should have seen no red cards instead of the two that were awarded. It’s a yellow, at most. Just felt that overall it was a poorly officiated match. But I don’t think there was malice in the technique worth producing a red.

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